Fireworks

I appreciate your concern about the use of fireworks. While many people enjoy their use on special occasions I know others do not like them. Fireworks can of course be very dangerous and I am glad the use and sale of them is controlled. Events where fireworks are used should be well planned and safety should be paramount.
 
Firework regulations allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods has been greatly reduced.
 
Although there is some use of fireworks outside the traditional periods, the Government believes that the majority of people who use fireworks do so at the appropriate times of year and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them. 
 
Regulations allow the general public to buy and use certain categories of fireworks for family use and for private firework displays. These are classified as F2 and F3 and are available for sale to people aged 18 and over. All fireworks on sale to the public are required to comply with essential safety requirements, set down in EU and UK law, which govern how they are made, tested and labelled. 
 
Fireworks used for professionally-organised displays, classified as F4, are available for sale only to people who have undertaken an accredited course of training in pyrotechnics and who hold relevant professional insurance.
 
It is up to local councils to decide whether or not to put on public displays. These are covered by Health and Safety legislation which requires the display organisers to ensure the safety of the display operators, spectators and those in the near vicinity of the display site.
 
There are also regulations which prevent the use of fireworks between 11pm and 7am all year round with the exception of 5 November, when the curfew starts at 12 midnight, and New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew starts at 1am on the night of celebration.
 
Excessive noise from fireworks, or noise during the curfew period, can be considered a statutory nuisance and local authority environmental health officers have the power to investigate complaints of fireworks noise and act to prevent it where appropriate.
 
I do also understand concerns about the distress noisy fireworks can cause to pets, livestock and wildlife. This is one of the reasons that there is a noise level limit of 120 decibels on fireworks for home use. The Government recognises, however, that even at this level fireworks noise can be distressing to some animals and refer owners to advice on keeping animals safe during fireworks periods. This is freely available from animal charities, such as the Blue Cross which gives both general and species-specific advice on its website.
 
In addition there is Government-sponsored advice and guidance on the safe and considerate use of fireworks on the Safer Fireworks website.
 
Police are able to issue penalty notices to persons aged 16 and over for a range of offences related to the misuse of fireworks. These include throwing fireworks, possession of a firework designated only for displays, possession by a person under 18 of an adult firework and breach of the fireworks curfew.
 
While there are no plans at the moment to place further limitations on the use of fireworks, the Government has announced a new body, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, responsible for collating information and data about the safety of consumer products, including fireworks. This will provide an evidence base and enable Ministers to keep the issue under review.